Finlandia is an unmistakeable, passionate piece of music that evokes vivid imagery of Finland’s people and countryside.
Finlandia played an important role in Finland gaining independence. The song was written by Sibelius for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert political protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire. Finlandia is the best-known of Sibelius’s works, and it propelled him into becoming Finland’s first prominent musician.
The tone of Finlandia varies greatly throughout the song. Most of Finlandia is a display of rousing and turbulent music, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people. The song begins with a tense and ominous mood, then gradually takes on a bright and festive character. Towards the end, a calmness emerges, and a serene melody plays out in expansive phrases.
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as Finland’s greatest composer, and one of the most popular composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Sibelius remains one of Finland’s most popular national figures and is a symbol of the nation. Through his music, Sibelius helped Finland develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia. Sibelius’ music is both nationalistic and universal, and is most effective in conveying mood and atmosphere.
Music is for me like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.
Sibelius was an active member of a circle of artists and writers in Helsinki fired by nationalistic spirit. This spirit was reflected in some expressive scores he composed to accompany a series of patriotic and historical stage works in 1899.
Throughout his career, Sibelius found inspiration in nature and Nordic mythology, especially the heroic legends of Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala.
Interestingly, Sibelius had sound to color synesthesia –when he heard sounds it automatically and involuntarily evoked for him an experience of perceiving color.
Sibelius’ Best Known Compositions:
- Karelia Suite
- Kullervo (choral symphony)
- The Swan of Tuonela (from the Lemminkäinen Suite)
- Valse triste
- Violin Concerto
Finlandia — Passionate Music from Sibelius
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